Today in the House of Commons the NDP will introduce a motion calling for the immediate decriminalization of cannabis

“Despite Justin Trudeau’s clear campaign promise to immediately fix marijuana laws in Canada, the government has done nothing for eight months except continue the senseless practice of handing out criminal records for personal use,” read a release on the NDP’s website. 

NDP justice critic Murray Rankin said Canadians expected that when they elected the Liberals on a platform of cannabis legalization, arrests and criminal records for possession would end.

“Instead we see a government that has failed to move on this issue and worse, has encouraged law enforcement to continue cracking down, further wasting resources and bringing greater confusion to the legal system,” Rankin said.

The NDP opposition motion asks the House to see the contradiction between giving the Canadians a criminal record for what the Liberals has said will not be a criminal activity and also calls for the immediate decriminalization of cannabis possession for personal use.

Trudeau has previously refused to decriminalize cannabis before the Liberal’s legalization program is completed.

When pressed in the House of Commons following the government’s announcement of a 2017 deadline for legalization legislation, the prime minister said decriminalization would only help criminals.

“Decriminalization, as this member proposes, actually gives a legal stream of income to criminal organizations,” Trudeau said. “That’s not what anyone wants in this country.

“The reality is that proper legalization protects our young people and keeps billions of dollars out of the pockets of criminal organizations, which is where the money is going now. Legalization is the only way to protect our young people and our communities, and that is what we are going to do, as promised.”

The NDP have questioned Trudeau’s opinion that legalization is the only way to help young Canadians.

“The majority of the convictions for pot possession involve young Canadians, who should not be burdened with criminal records for the rest of their lives especially when the government plans to legalize marijuana at some point in the future,” said NDP youth critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach. “The Liberals should take a clear first step and immediately decriminalize the possession of marijuana.”